Virtualization Technology News and Information
State of Open Con 2023 Q&A: Get a Sneak Peek from FreeBSD Foundation


Are you getting ready for the upcoming State of Open Con 2023 event, a two day conference covering open technology, security, data and government policy on the 7th and 8th of February 2023.  The event takes place at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London, UK.

Ahead of the show, VMblog received an exclusive interview with Deb Goodkin, Executive Director of the FreeBSD Foundation, a non-profit organization that celebrates, elevates, and empowers users of the world's best open source operating system..

VMblog: To kick things off, give VMblog readers a quick overview of the FreeBSD Foundation.

Deb Goodkin:  The FreeBSD Foundation is a US-based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting FreeBSD and its community.  We fund staff who work directly on the operating system, improve test coverage and continuous integration, and help maintain the Project's infrastructure.  We also advocate for FreeBSD by offering workshops, educational material, and presentations to recruit more users and contributors.

VMblog:  What will you be showing off at the State of OpenCon?  And how can attendees find you at the show?

Goodkin:  We will have a demo setup of the ARM Morello box running CheriBSD, a FreeBSD-based operating system that takes advantage of Capability Hardware such as Arm Morello. Other than that, we will have a few FreeBSD contributors there to talk to attendees about FreeBSD. We will be located on the 4th floor at table 31. 

VMblog: What is your message to State of OpenCon attendees?  What message should they walk away with after visiting your booth?

Goodkin:  FreeBSD is a secure and innovative operating system, used for many purposes from products to research and from large corporations to prestigious universities around the world. This might be the operating system for you! The future is security and ease of use, and FreeBSD is that solution. Also, if interested in security, and UK-based, start considering experimenting with Morello/CheriBSD now.

Our message to attendees is that you may not have heard of FreeBSD, but you have probably already used it, and for good reason.  Read below for some examples describing why FreeBSD is the right choice for companies, researchers, and end users.

VMblog:  What market needs or problems is your company addressing?  And how?

Goodkin:  Some of the needs that FreeBSD addresses are security, high performance, low cost hardware, less environmental impact, sustainability, and the ability to protect your IP. Netflix is a great example of high transfer rates on the internet. They are currenting transferring close to 800 Gb/s from a single server!  CheriBSD is based on FreeBSD and is the security solution for Arm's Morello and the University of Cambridge's CheriBSD security project that has been significantly funded by the UK and US governments, with funding from key companies like Microsoft, Google, and Arm. 

Sony and Apple are great examples of companies that use FreeBSD in their products, customizing it for their own uses, while protecting their IP. The fact that FreeBSD enables or includes only the services absolutely necessary, and doesn't have extraneous software running, less hardware is needed which helps reduce costs and environmental impacts. 

FreeBSD is the best solution when consistent uptime is required by hosting companies because of its stability and reliability.

VMblog:  What are some of the key takeaways that State of OpenCon conference goers should be aware of?  

Goodkin:  FreeBSD is a versatile operating system that has been developed for over thirty years. It is one of the oldest, largest, and most successful open source projects.

FreeBSD has blazing fast networking, support for advanced filesystems like ZFS, and a focus on security is why many companies, universities, and government agencies use FreeBSD. 

Most likely attendees here are currently using FreeBSD without even knowing it! FreeBSD is behind the scenes in MacOS, Sony Playstations, and Netflix. In addition, there is significant funding (around £225M) from the UK government going into Arm's Morello and the University of Cambridge's CheriBSD Project.

FreeBSD is fairly easy to get started with and because of the flat structure, it's easier for companies to get key changes upstreamed quickly. 

The FreeBSD base system is an integrated operating system distribution that is developed and released as a cohesive whole by a single team.

VMblog:  What are some of the security best practices attendees should be aware of and be implementing in their organizations?

Goodkin:  Keep your software up-to-date and apply security updates when they are released.

It's difficult to provide concise advice on a complicated topic like software security.  Perhaps a general guideline would be to choose the software you run carefully.  What does the attack surface look like?  Large, complicated software with many bells and whistles has the opportunity for more security vulnerabilities than alternatives designed with simplicity and security in mind.

VMblog:  I'm sure the keynotes will discuss big pictures, but what trends are you seeing that we should be aware of in 2023?

Goodkin:  Some of the trends we are seeing are more interest in Arm type processors, increased cloud usage with more companies getting into the mix, and open source software security.

VMblog:  Does the Foundation have any speaking slots at State of OpenCon?  If so, can you tell us more about those sessions so people can get them on their schedules?

Goodkin:  We won't be giving a talk at this conference, but we will definitely submit a talk for next year's conference!

VMblog:  Finally, I have to ask.  Will FreeBSD Foundation give away any interesting tchotchke?

Goodkin:  Great question! We'll have lots of fun stickers and it's possible a few other cool items. I'm not 100% sure what we'll be giving away, since we'll be coming directly from FOSDEM. But, you'll just have to stop by to say ‘hi' and see what we have!


Published Friday, February 03, 2023 8:30 AM by David Marshall
There are no comments for this post.
To post a comment, you must be a registered user. Registration is free and easy! Sign up now!
<February 2023>